Darlings, St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching and you might be looking for something tasty and filling to counteract all of the green beer, Guinness and Irish whisky you will no doubt have imbibed.
So, please let me suggest the following menu, which I prepared back in April and will be making again this Saturday in honor of the day when a guy in green got rid of all the snakes in Ireland or whatnot.
Cleve and I do not go out for St. Patrick’s Day because, like all other High Drinking Days (Mardi Gras, Cinco De Mayo, New Year’s Eve, etc), that’s when the amateurs are out.
Also, the last time I was out for Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day parade I watched a guy propped up against a parked car slide ALL the way down the side of it and, without breaking his fall, face plant into the green-glittered curb. And that was my first and last St. Patty’s Day parade.
So, if you, too, are staying in on Saturday and avoiding all of the public intoxication, you may fancy #43 New England Boiled Dinner…
All last week Cleve and I were willing hostages in our own home. We committed ourselves to The Kennedys, the much-maligned 8-part mini-series that was produced by The History Channel and then subsequently dumped because of ‘historical inaccuracy.’ A few other networks passed on it as well and it ended up on something called the Reelz Channel, which most of America has never heard of. If you like a good conspiracy, you can believe the rumor that the Kennedy offspring had it killed.
Or! If you really like conspiracies, you can believe (according to The Kennedys) that Frank Sinatra was the liaison between Joe Kennedy Sr. and mob-boss Sam Giancana and that the reason that JFK won Chicago, and ultimately the presidency, is because Sinatra promised Sam that, as president, JFK would ignore a lot of Sam’s illegal activities. Therefore, when Bobby, as Attorney General, declared his war on organized crime, this pissed Giancana off so much that he put a hit out on JFK (is anyone else thinking about the plot of Johnny Dangerously?). Anyway, Lee Harvey Oswald was just a patsy because the real shooter was a mob hitman in a drainage tunnel under the grassy knoll. Or Cigarette Smoking Man. And all of this happened because Frank couldn’t hold up his end of the bargain. So the only logical conclusion is that Frank Sinatra is directly responsible for the death of JFK, RFK, and the destruction of a nation’s innocence. And I thought he was just a guy with a golden voice who had a penchant for whiskey, ladies, and Las Vegas.
So those are the sort of liberties that were taken with this series. I think that Cleve and I were 2 of all 15 people who watched this thing; but Cleve is a bit of a Kennedy-phile so we were obligated to tune in.*(see end of post)
In honor of the 2-part finale last Sunday I dedicated #43 New England Boiled Dinner, to America’s Royal Family. I think it is obvious why #43 was the winner. The only way this meal could get more Irish is if I garnished it with shamrocks.
I like any sort of one-pot meal, so I was a big fan of #43. The most difficult part of it was that I had to drive to Giant to buy a corned beef (thank you, Safeway for stocking such a wonderful selection of meat). Everything else was a breeze! There was such minimal chopping (just quartering and halving), I bought a pie (I’m lazy), used canned beets, and I nixed the white sauce (screw you bechemel) so I simply mixed horseradish, sour cream, and mustard for the sauce. TA-DA! A finished meal!
Since it was so simple I decided to jazz up the Chilled Tomato and Clam Juice. So I present to you: Jackie-O’s Clamato Cocktail!
Combine the following and serve on ice with lemon.
- 1 jigger vodka
- 8 oz. Clamato juice
- 1 tsp grated horseradish
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
- 3/4 tsp hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp Old Bay
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- black pepper to taste
Cleve says that Clamato sounds like a sexually transmitted disease. Well, Jackie probably had 1 or 2 with all of JFK’s extramarital activities.
But I digress.
My changes to #43 were minuscule: the aforementioned omission of white sauce, a shorter boil time since my beef was half the size as suggested, and the addition of peppercorns to the boiling water. The beef started to boil at 3pm and we ate at 6:45, just in time to enjoy two more hours of Katie Holmes’ doe eyes and fluctuating accents (are you from Long Island, England, or Brooklyn, hon?).
If you’ve had corned beef and cabbage before, you know that it can be a pretty bland dish. I think that the sweetness of the beets and carrots tempered that, and the subtle kick of the turnip was much appreciated. No one flavor over-powered the rest. And the kick of the mustard sauce and the spice of the cocktail were perfect accompaniments. I think that #43 was a victory. I really liked it.
Cleve’s review: “It’s very WASPy.” Uh, HELLO! The Kennedys were big ol’ Catholics!
The Kennedys wasn’t the best thing on TV, but it also wasn’t anywhere as near as bad as I thought it would be. There were some good performances, but the script was whore-end-ous. And speaking of whores–if JFK’s back was as jacked as they portrayed in the film, and if he really was on 20 different controlled substances, how did he have the stamina/ability to be the prolific philanderer we all know him to be? It boggles the mind.
The series as a whole was very stylish, light on substance, and all kinds of soapy, which we are going to need a lot more of now that All My Children and One Life to Live have been cancelled. Sad face. First the Guiding Light, and now this. All My Children and Guiding Light were with me for the good times and the bad times, for flus and summer vacations and bouts of unemployment. What is my mum going to update me with when we’re on the phone? Real life? Updates on my relatives? Bor-ing. No offense, relatives, but you don’t hold a candle to the residents of Pine Valley. Anyway, I raise my glass to you, Erica Kane Martin Brent Cudahy Chandler Montgomery Montgomery Chandler Marick Marick Montgomery! You are the epitome of fabulousness and will be dearly missed.
Well, here is the Dinner is Served! side-by-side. Don’t they look as eerily similar as Greg Kinnear does to JFK?
Or not. But do I get bonus points for my awesome stars and stripes background?
* Funny story, one night out at Aloha Sushi we were doing a bit of karaoke and a young African-American lady said to Cleveland, “you are Kennedy-fine!” and I thought that his Kennedy-fine head was going to fall off he was so full of glee.
This post originally appeared April 17, 2011.